The Tempest

Brought to Life 400 Years Later in a 400 Year-Old Setting


Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21, 2019; 6 pm [Gates open at 5pm]

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, 80 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island, NY 11964 [Rain venue: Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, 32 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island, NY 11964]


This year’s Shakespeare at the Manor performance of The Tempest continues a long tradition of the Sylvester family and their descendants celebrating the arts over the centuries at the Manor. Performed in the open air on the Manor grounds, The Tempest tells the story of how Prospera and her daughter have made a new life for themselves on a remote island populated by fairies, spirits and other magical creatures, after being exiled from her native land at the hands of her power-hungry brother Antonio. After twelve years of using her “rough magic” to maintain survival and control over the island and its inhabitants, Prospera summons a sea storm that brings her face to face with her former life and the people who betrayed her. In the ensuing action, this motley group of natives and transplants, humans and spirits, all grapple for dominance and personal justice. 

When Shakespeare wrote The Tempest in 1610, England was in the early stages of its imperialist expeditions into America and the West Indies. Shakespeare’s text reveals a writer who was curious about this new world and the people and places found within it. In imagining such a place, Shakespeare’s fantasy play explores many real world themes: displacement, revenge, forgiveness, power, subjugation, and otherness all shape the events – sometimes joyful and sometimes sinister – that unfold on the island. 

Those early colonial expeditions that sparked Shakespeare’s imagination can be traced directly to Sylvester Manor – established in 1652 as a provisioning plantation for the Barbadian sugar trade, and worked by enslaved Africans and indentured Native Americans.  The shadow of European imperialism continues to shape our modern world, making The Tempest an important play to engage with today, especially here on the Manor. Bringing to life this 400 year-old text (on a nearly 400 year-old property) offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared history and on the timeless impulses, both for good and evil, that make us human.

Bringing wonderful, engaging Arts programming to Shelter Island is a vital part of the mission at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. As a new era is being explored at Sylvester Manor, “Shakespeare at the Manor” remains a cornerstone in the commitment to encouraging deeper connections to culture and place through programs like this. The local community is encouraged to engage beyond being members of the audience. Volunteer hosts house artists for the duration of the production, donate and host meals, or otherwise contribute and make the company welcome during their stay on Shelter Island.

Bring your beach chairs, blankets and picnics. Noah’s on the Road food truck and ice cream available for purchase. Tickets are $18 in advance (kids 18 and under are free) and may be available the door based on availability. Purchase tickets by visiting or by calling the Manor at (631) 749-0626.


Sylvester Manor Educational Farm: Once a Native American hunting and fishing ground, Sylvester Manor has since 1652 been home to eleven generations of its original European settler family. Over time, the place has been transformed from a slaveholding provisioning plantation to an Enlightenment-era farm, then to a pioneering food industrialist’s estate and today to an organic educational farm responsive to, and supported by, our neighbors and friends worldwide. In light of this history, we envision a farm, a community, and a world where people celebrate food, arts, and inventiveness in the everyday, with a spirit of fairness and joy. For more information, visit



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